Randi Taylor-Habib's Reviews > How to Read and Why

How to Read and Why by Harold Bloom
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Jul 30, 12

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Harold Bloom is an elitist, a snob, a horrible sexist, and as an Ivy League professor, could care less. He is not here to make friends, he is here to inform us that we are incredibly under read and that we are reading for the wrong reasons.

Once he gets past his ranting in the beginning regarding the politics of education regarding not pursuing excellence, that reading is in no way improving of society as in his mind it is a "selfish act", and spending long dreary moments denouncing feminism in literature, disregarding that most of his readers are not wealthy debutantes of the liberal elite given full ride to Harvard, we finally get to book at hand.

When he finally puts aside his politics we find a glimpse of Bloom's lyric heart. Although like some Southern teenage boy nervous about anyone discovering his femininity he constantly pulls the curtains back over any of his true sentimentalism regarding these his most precious gems, his literary canon.

Bloom and I do not have the same taste in literature, it precisely the types of qualities in individual pieces, political and romantic that he despises that I adore, however when he finally begins to de-construct classics such as Joyce, the Russian novelists, and Shakespeare his brilliance and candour are remarkable. This is what we have paid the price of admission for in reading his sentiments, and having spent an incredibly well educated life disseminating literature his reflections are lovely and inspiring. They are delicate flowers left beside teapots to dry, but they are subtle in their integrity.

The point is you may disagree with Bloom, but this is the sort of literary criticality we need, and are so often deprived of. Each book and author is shared, besides Shakespeare of course, in a few short pages. This is good literary criticality, the sort we do not see often on sites such as this, but which should be read and listened to as it inspires us in how to speak about the hearts of books, and their purpose.
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